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Karen has been commissioned to sculpt Saint Francis and Saint Clare. 

Holy Family Video

Click here to see Karen discuss the symbolism behind "Holy Family"

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Two ways to create a silicone mold

I'm continuing to take trips to the foundry as these first stages of casting the 3/4-life-size Holy Family are taking place. As I mentioned in an early blog post, the first step is to create a silicone mold of the sculpture, into which hot wax is poured to create a replica.

When the sculptures are too large, silicone is not poured into the plastic jacket, but rather painted onto the sculpture, layer by layer, until the desired thickness is achieved. Mary and Joseph are big enough to require this method. Once the silicone layers have set and the plaster is cured, the clay sculpture is removed, the silicone and plaster jacket for each horizontal section (front and back) is replaced and clamped, and the wax can be poured, section by section.


Mold Making Begins

Casting a sculpture into bronze is a long and fascinating process, and I'm excited to document the stages on this blog as my 3/4-life-size Holy Family is cast over the coming weeks. 

I sculpt my figures in an oil clay that can't itself be fired into anything permanent, so molds must be made into which the bronze is poured. 

Briefly, these are the steps of the casting process (the slideshow below documents the first two steps):

  1. A silicone mold is made of the clay sculpture (see the slideshow below).
  2. Hot wax is poured into the silicone mold to create a wax replica of the sculpture. The artist "chases the wax" at this phase, to make sure this replica is a perfect copy of the original.
  3. A cement mold is made from the wax replica.
  4. The wax is melted out of the cement mold.
  5. Bronze is poured into the cement mold.
  6. The cement mold is broken with a chisel and hammer to reveal the finished, bronze sculpture.

Every time a new edition of the sculpture is ordered (there are a limited number of editions or copies of a piece that I will sell), this process is repeated by using the silicone mold – the only permanent part of the molding process. Even the clay I sculpt in will be reused for future projects.

I've found that it is crucial to have have complete faith in the quality of the foundry. American Fine Arts Foundry is casting this sculpture, and Nick Nobe is an artist himself, and does excellent work.



A Time for Showing, and a Time for Seeing

I had a great experience at the Loveland Sculpture Invitational, in large part due to the great connections I made with sculptors and art lovers. I was reminded of the importance of showing one’s work to the public, seeing people respond to the art, and having conversations about how it touches them. Several of the relationships that were created at this event will endure for years to come.

Now that I’ve been on the exhibition side of things, I’m looking forward to taking in lots of beautiful art this Fall at two exciting events.

First, I’ll be traveling to Florence with several other sculptors for a workshop led by my sculpting teacher, Simon Kogan. Besides the pure joy of being in Italy and taking in so much world-class sculpture, I’m looking forward to developing my skill and learning from a great artist like Simon once again.

Second, I’ve registered to attend TRAC2012, The Representational Art Conference, sponsored by Cal Lutheran University this October. I’ve never attended this conference before, but it looks like an event dedicated to promoting thoughtful, serious art and academic discourse. I hope some of you consider this event as well!


Heading Home After a Great Weekend in Loveland

Before I get in the car to start driving back to California, I wanted to write a quick post to report that my time at the Loveland Sculpture Invitational was rich and rewarding. I made many great connections with artists, art lovers, collectors, and the citizens of Loveland who overwhelmingly support sculpture every year at this event.

I'll give a fuller report soon, but here are a couple photos of my booth for now. Thanks to everyone who offered words of support and well wishes. I think the connections I made in Loveland will be fruitful in the near future!


Finished Sculpting Holy Family

The biggest focus for me this year has been sculpting an enlargement of my Holy Family sculpture for St. Thomas More Church in Paducha, Kentucky. This has been a challenging and rewarding process!

Last week, I completed the sculpting phase and it was time to send the sculpture to the foundry for casting.  

Nick Nobe, the mold maker (a sculptor himself), came to my studio to cut the sculpture into parts. It is not possible to create one mold of a sculpture this size, so Nick had to identify the best places to separate the figures for the molding process.

The next day I went to the foundry to touch-up any bumps that took place during the journey, and to give the sculptures my final approval before being cast.

I’ll return to the foundry again to oversee the casting in its various stages.